An Army trooper posted in Kashmir has been arrested eight years after he attacked a girl with acid in Odisha, according to media reports.
Santosh Kumar Bedanta (36) was nabbed from Kolkata in West Bengal on Sunday, while another accused in the case was held from Nayagarh district (Odisha), The New Indian Express reported.
The incident took place in 2009 when the trooper, hailing from Odhisha’s Bhadrak district, was deployed in Tirtol area of Jagatsinghpur for election duty, The Hindu reported.
“According to the police, the accused (Bedanta) was enraged after the girl, Pramodini Roul, (then 17) turned down his proposal.”
“The accused was currently posted in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir. Led by Superintendent of Police JN Pakanj, a team had even visited Srinagar and Kupwara to trace the accused. However, he had left Kashmir by the time police reached there,” The New Indian Express report says.
Police kept tracking the accused, who was later found hiding in Kolkata.
“Jagatsinghpur police had been in touch with Army officials, Jammu and Kashmir and Kolkata police to get details about the accused.”
The girl had sustained severe burn injuries and also lost her vision till she underwent an operation earlier this year. She was bed-ridden for at least seven years. As she stepped out of her house later, she faced social stigma. Bedanta’s associate Biswajit Dalsinghray alias Anil is accused of riding the motorcycle used in the crime and assisting him in purchasing acid. Later, both fled from the spot.
The case was closed in 2012 due to lack of evidence. In 2017, Jagatsinghpur police sought permission from the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM) to reopen the case. The SDJM also issued non-bailable warrant against the accused.